We had been looking forward to this day with trepidation and excitement.
When we arrived at Mitta Mitta Township Park, our guides, Smithy and Christian, were preparing for the safety and introduction briefing. Smithy went through the briefing with us all. He made sure I understood all the safety aspects. His explanations were clear. We had to follow each instruction immediately. The Sharks Tooth 1 is a dangerous category four rapid. Smithy didn’t want any accidents or people falling out of the raft.
We all drove our vehicles to the pull out point and left them at The Witches Garden on the Mitta Mitta River. The Witches Garden is a bed and breakfast with “The largest collection of Medical Plants in Australia & is dedicated to preserving their history and folklore.”
From there we all went in a mini bus up the river to the put in point just below the Lake Banimboola Dam. Lake Banimboola is 9 km from Dartmouth Dam. Great volumes of water are released daily from Dartmouth Dam during spring and summer. It is the released water that creates the rapids.
The first part of the trip was on flat water where we put into practice what we learnt on the grass at the park. Every now and again I clashed my paddle with the lady sitting in front of me so Smithy had Roy call “stroke, stroke” on each backward stroke which solved the paddle crashing.
We had an opportunity to swim before the rapids. I volunteered to jump in the cold water. Smithy demonstrated a rescue for me to get back into the raft. Roy also had a swim here.
The guides checked out how the Sharks Tooth rapids were behaving before rafting them. We all walked a short way down a rough track to watch them for a while. Smithy has 30 years’ experience rafting and safety is his foremost concern.
We watch the first raft fly down the rapids. Oh they’ve got stuck on a rock! “Everybody to the left side of the raft!” Now they’re off and speeding down again.
It’s our turn!
After walking back to our raft, Smithy again stressed the absolute importance to listen carefully to his instructions. He didn’t want an accident as the Sharks Tooth rapids are named for their very sharp pointed rocks sticking up just like a great white’s teeth. We were ready for the adrenalin rush.
Smithy called “Ready? Go”! We shot through the white water.
Hold on! Now paddle! It was pure speed, excitement and exhilaration for 300 meters.
We all wanted to do it again. After we successfully negotiated the Sharks Tooth Rapid we high fived our paddles.
Smithy relaxed once we were through. The Sharks Tooth 1 rapid is the longest rapid on that stretch of the Lower Mitta Mitta River. A few more paddle strokes and we dropped over the famous Weir Wave.
Then there were smaller Sharks Tooth rapids.
Very shortly afterwards we arrived at the jumping off rocks. I chose to do the 2 meter jump which took a bit of courage.
Some of the guys jumped from the 9m rock. Roy jumped from the 9m rock and landed on his backside. For a couple of days he groaned every time he sat down.
We paddled to some other pools where Smithy organised some games where participants could run around the inflated side walls of both rafts racing someone in the other raft. Sometimes people fell off into the river.
The day was thrilling. The leaders were fantastic.
This adventure was on the lower Mitta Mitta River. The Upper Mitta Mitta River has 18 km of grade two to four rapids. It is only navigable during winter and spring. Roy and I plan to do it in late July with Smithy and Christian.